Today, customers are the most valuable resource that the businesses have, that’s why it’s very important to offer reliable customer service. Respond to complaints, answer customer’s questions fast and politely will create customer loyalty with many other competitive advantages. Businesses nowadays are turning their manual ways in handling customers to more automatic, computerized and web self services. Unfortunately, several businesses fail to successfully make use of IT as a customer service control. They don’t employ systems in their processes that help customers to find responds to their inquiries online, or at the counter itself more easily.
Customer service at Carrefour has experienced many weaknesses when it comes to handle customers problems. There are inadequate number of representatives. Customers should wait at least five minutes to find answer to a very ridiculous question. Reps are working as a machine with no interactions with customers.
As diverse customers will prefer to use diverse communications channels at different times, Carrefour should use CRM (customer service management) that offer a cloud computing solution which will integrate all the functions together. CRM will help the customer service’s at Carrefour in improving customer satisfaction, and attract new customers through lowering services costs. By understanding customers needs, Carrefour will guarantee a good reputation in the marketplace against its competitors.
We share a dream: to make Carrefour a business that is recognized and loved for helping its customers and consumers enjoy a better quality of life, each and every day.
History Of Carrefour
The origins of Carrefour date back to 1959 when the company was established in France by the Fournier and Defforey families. The shops were all located on thoroughfares; hence the name “Carrefour.” In other words, the name signifies that is convenient to shop there. Carrefour opened its first supermarket in Annecy, Haute-Savoie, and at the same time, the LLC Promodis, the forerunner of Promodes, was created.
The company was formed through a merger of two wholesaler families from Normandy, managed by Paul Auguste Halley and Leonor Duval Lemonnier. In 1963, Carrefour invented a new concept; the hypermarket. The first Carrefour hypermarket opened in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois, with a sales area of 2,500 m square, twelve check out and 400 parking spaces.
Just a few years later the Promodes supermarkets adopted the Champion retail brand name. Carrefour opened its first hypermarket outside France in Belgium and the first outside Europe, in Brazil. In 1972, Promodes hypermarkets adopted the Continent retail brand and convenience stores operated under the Shopi brand.
Carrefour introduced “produit libres” (generic as an early of store brand), which are unbranded products but “just as good and cheaper” and started the development of hard discounting.
The company created the Ed chain in France and Promodes in Spain. Meanwhile, Promodes branched out into franchising with Champion supermarket. In 1980s, Carrefour store brand products were introduced. In the 1990s, the internationalization of the company started to increase and new store were opened all over the world.
With a presence in about 30 countries more than half of its sales are generated outside France. This makes it one of the most international of all food retailers. The group concentrated mainly in three continents: Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Carrefour In Middle East
Majid Al Futtaim Retail recognized as one of the most active shopping concept developers throughout the region, the Group first introduced the hypermarket model to the Middle East in 1995. Majid Al Futtaim Retail manages Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarkets, a joint venture company with the world’s second largest retailer Carrefour, and offers shoppers the same quality, variety and value-for-money that have made the brand a household name to millions over the world. In the last 4 years, Majid Al Futtaim Hypermarket has opened 14 new Stores. In the expansion of Carrefour across the region currently there are 37 hypermarkets in the Middle East. In the coming year of 2012, Majid Al Futtaim Retail expects to open 12 new stores. Carrefour reputation has been built, above all, on the quality and freshness of the products, and competitive prices. Selling goods with quality choices in food, personal care, communication, leisure, entertainment and household goods while continually meeting the needs of local consumers in 2009, with the ranging from needed to refrigerate food to clothes under one roof, is trendy as shoppers pick specialized stores. Carrefour’s own retail brands are a significant medium for brand differentiation and customer loyalty, contributing substantially to the organization’s growth in sales. Majid Al Futtaim Retail is honored to share the experience of Carrefour growing with more than 13000 Employees from more than 50 different nationalities in 11 countries.
Carrefour In Ras Al-Khaimah
Carrefour was first introduced in Ras Al-Khaima in 2001 in Manar Mall. It considers the second largest hypermarket regard to its products and suppliers. There are roughly five hundred employees distributed across different departments which are production, sales, administration and finance, HR, and customer service.
Carrefour Brand, Branding Strategies and Packaging
Carrefour is the world’s second largest – and Europe’s largest – retailer of groceries and consumer goods. The group operates four main formats, hypermarkets, supermarkets, hard discount, and convenience stores which carries 87 items on the shelf.
Strategy is the fine art of keeping every factor and element in perfect balance. Carrefour has adopted the concept that “by working closely with our clients, our Brand Strategy team defines and puts in place the actions needed to deliver an agreed result. This will be in line with the overall business strategy behind the brand creation, to ensure the long-term, consistent implementation and management of the brand”.
Carrefour Brands and Packaging
In 2005, Carrefour asked all its consumers to help into launch a 3rd generation of products that would mix the lowest prices in each market with a socially responsible slant. Carrefour quickly understood that the private label would nourish interest in the store and further leverage the Carrefour brand.
There are three major shopper expectations that informed the packaging design. First, shoppers expected Carrefour to be fast and efficient. Second, beyond a low price, customers desired attention and creative expression. Third, the new premium brand must anticipate new expectations like ethical issues and uniqueness.
Based on these shopper insights and additional research, Carrefour reorganized its offer into three categories: Carrefour for Everyday, Carrefour Agir (organic and ethical products), and Carrefour Selection (premium products).
The square system they created emphasizes quality and multiplicity. It also gave each of the categories a distinctive look that also corresponded with the larger master-brand.
Carrefour for Everyday included over 8,000 products and was given key shelf space, often on eye level. They used fresh colors and an information layout based on the square system. The Everyday brand’s sub-categories – Carrefour Baby, Carrefour Kids, and Carrefour Lite – corresponded seamlessly with the brand architecture.
The simple materials and form of the Carrefour Agir packaging manifests the sub-brand’s organic contents and ethical concerns. The philosophy is further leveraged through a clean, square organizational system that conveys essential information about the product.
A mix of classical and astonishing graphics was used to convey Carrefour selection’s premium, upscale range. The typography and use of the color black further emphasizes the label’s subtle sophistication.
After the launch of the private label brands, Carrefour sales increased by more than 10 percent in the Middle East and it looked to us again to help with global in-store communication and way-finding, merchandising concepts, structured analysis of shopper patterns, and hypermarket layout models. The vision of Carrefour made the shopper the “New Store Hero.” It created four guiding principles to achieve this, including reducing store complexity, optimizing shopping time requirements, increasing shopper contribution, and improving efficiency of in-store communication. With customer help, Carrefour reduced shopper times, increased basket sizes, maximized premium product range sales, and improved its credibility and perceived professionalism. Carrefour saw an astounding increase of 35 percent in product turnover at Carrefour, within formats with surface areas below 9,000 m². Good news for Carrefour – and good news for us.
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Carrefour’s Competitive Strategy
The basic creation of competitive strategy in any business engages primary the understanding of the essential determinants of rivalry. Competition is distinct as the battle for market distribution between two or more industries. A consideration of competition assists the strategy market in estimating whether the level of competition in a business provides a scope for good productivity. Competitive strategy refers to the technique an industry fights in a exacting industry and increases competitive benefit through intentionally selecting an idiosyncratic collection of activities. This project tends to discover operations passed by Carrefour, to identify the relations of these known operations with the value offering to target customers, and then to explain the organization of Carrefour’s competitive advantage, and operational assessment in order to suggest a way to enhance the process of Carrefour’s customer service.
The Carrefour Group is in relation with millions of customers and thousands of suppliers everywhere it operates, and has been aware of the environmental, economic, and social power of its activities from the very opening. Carrefour’s policy on competitive progress lies at the middle of its company strategy and focuses on two main areas: incorporating maintainable enlargement into its company activities and endorsing maintainable maturity to its customers.
Considering and foreseeing stakeholders potential, integrating with external expertise to expand the maintainability strategy, keeping away from risk and resolving disagreements are the chief goals in Carrefour’s close relations with stakeholders. Carrefour preserve constant discussion through the “Sustainable Development department” at Group level and through the world, banners and branches at local level. For over 12 years, Carrefour has transported jointly its primary stakeholders for open conversation of Carrefour Group activities in order to assist reinforce its sustainable-development strategy.
Carrefour’s Differentiation Strategy
Carrefour utilizes the differentiation strategy to be successful through producing a product exclusive to customers. The products should be promoted in a means that makes customers believe it is exclusive to the store. Carrefour has attained this strategy by offering exclusive guarantees and brand images. Carrefour customers believe they are being offered with special items and services that they cannot find at any of the store’s rivals.
Carrefour’s differentiation strategy is preserving the favored retailers by distributing stores where consumers are logically drawn to shop, and to which they are faithful. Carrefour work in gaining the trust of its consumers in merchandise quality, price and service. Carrefour also aims to please and understand customer requirements and providing customers with the best promotions. Employees are also included in the differentiation strategy by making staff proud to work and do their best.
Carrefour’s Operational Activities
Their assurance to low prices is the heart of their strategy since 2005 which sustained in 2006 in all their retail posters, banners and in every nation in which the Carrefour group functions. In 2006, Carrefour constant low price strategy resulted in an enhanced cost image at their banners in a number of countries. Carrefour hypermarkets completed significant strides in UAE, to shrink its pressure on productivity, the low price policy has been leveraged through three strategies: purchasing synergies, price positioning and improved product presentation. To guarantee the best prices, Carrefour groups have sustained to enlarge their purchasing synergies. Out of an average 1,200 product listings in a solid discount stores are now acquired together with store brand products sold in the Group’s hypermarkets and supermarkets. Carrefour struggles to be the price chief all through the globe. To attain that purpose, the Group is arranging a continuing and destructive low-price strategy by increasing its promotions and communications. Throughout the UAE, Carrefour promised the lowest prices on 800 basic consumer goods and requested consumer organizations to confirm its claim. The plan was powerfully endorsed by a large scale display advertising campaign. From a planned perspective, the price offensive is not a temporary promotion but rather a long-term repositioning.
Enhanced Product Presentation
The new ready to sell approach to product presentation now being arranged which proposes two advantages: one, by showcasing products in display components or in their innovative boxes rather than storing shelves with items one by one, supplies save considerably on time and labor, resulting in lower costs and lower prices for consumers.
Efficiency And Productivity Of Carrefour
As the seventh-largest private-sector employer in the world, the Carrefour group plans to turn out to be a benchmark in conditions of HRM and social responsibility across all the countries in wherever it operates. Appealing, educating, supporting and enhancing loyalty as well staying close to people from all countries. Carrefour performs its greatest to guarantee that all of its nearly 500,000 employees, who are the first representatives of the banners for their consumers, accomplish their prospective and carry out the best of their capabilities.
Carrefour, the world’s second- largest retailer, confirmed its 2011 forecasts for revenue and profit growth after first-quarter sales rose 3.9 percent, led by improvement in Latin America and Asia. Revenue climbed to 24.7 billion Euros ($35.7 billion), the Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based company said today in a statement after markets closed. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for revenue of 24.8 billion Euros. Sales in emerging markets climbed 12 percent.
To maintain its leadership position, one of the group’s goals is to keep on its growth. Captivating into account the additional boost of rivalry in its sector and the overall flourishing rate of expansion; Carrefour wants an easy but determined strategy: to raise its market share by opening a variety of new stores each year. To facilitate its growth choices, Carrefour is necessitate a dominant geo marketing means joining together consistency of the result and a fast process of inquiry. Furthermore, Carrefour is aiming to chase a growth while continuing profitable and obeying with the Carrefour Group’s brand strategies.
The Operational Problem
Customer Service includes numerous things that it is unfeasible to list them all here. It can be seen in the facade of your business, the first welcome your customer receives, and the understanding and approach of you and your staff. In addition, the accuracy of instructions and simplicity of convenience are as well part of customer service. In any rising industry, constant improvement in customer service and relations is essential. It is crucial that businesses are responsive of customer service satisfaction at all times. The business will advantage from improved strategies for inner and client communication.
One widespread factor among all countries: poor customer service has a key influence on enterprises internationally, which straightly result in unexpected revenue. In nearly every country, clients break up at least one relationship per year owing to poor customer service. The huge bulk of lost revenue consequences in leaving to a competitor. A dissatisfied or disappointed consumer will tell seven to thirteen consumers about his or her bad experience. Customer retention well be lost, and it will almost certainly never see him or her another time and it may never have a chance to form customers out of those to which he or she criticized. Good customer service reflects the entire business culture.
Customer service at Carrefour UAE has experienced several inefficient and unreliable services from the extensive lines that are standing in the check out spots. The main issue that there are not enough employees at this spot owing to the high rate of absence among the employees and Carrefour is possibly have to carry on to convene the demand for quick, everyday shopping in order to compete on service. Actually, the staff is receiving a low paid utmost 4000 AED per month. Taking this amount of salary is not sufficient as some employees have children and other life necessities.
There are also further weaknesses that the department is suffering of. A number of the attritions that are involved are wrong understanding of consumers needs, because they don’t have the right skills, and the number of staff are very limited. Employees may perhaps mind about their customers but they just don’t have the skill to show them that they mind. Staff at the Carrefour’s customer service are also lacking of understanding the cultural dimensions of a customer who is halfway across the world. It’s not just language or verbal communication around the tone of voice, consumers are getting used to appointing intonation on the phone. Staff at the counter are lack of eye contact norms, which can be considered as a personality disorder and in some other cultures it is considered as a sign of disrespect.
Another weakness, staff at the counter in Carrefour’s customer service are working as machine operative. They just take the complaint from the customer without discussing it. There is no verbal communication or sense of apology. Once people come on board, they’re often get angry for the reason that they should wait for at least five minutes to solve their problems, and this occur often during night shifts, with a lot of consumers looking for different problems solutions. Here are some of real scenarios occured in Carrefour’s customer service:
The Story: A customer purchased a new microwave from a reputable provider at Carrefour with a warranty for two years. Some months later, the microwave started popping weird noise customer sent the microwave back to the Carrefour’s Customer Service for repair. Carrefour stated that they would not replace the microwave because the purchase occurred at the retail stores, and the customer should contact the head office or the provider itself to solve the problem. The customer was very angry because of the bad service that the staff provided, the long waiting for no answer to the problem at the counter, and for the bad skills and attitudes that the rep had.
Another story: While waiting to take my stuff from the shelve that I had placed on the customer service counter, the phone rings and the employee answers it immediately. Instead of asking the caller to wait and hold the call while he finished helping the customer at hand, he spends a large amount of time making inquiries about the product information for the caller. Subsequent to a couple of minutes of being ignored and overlooked, I left Carrefour and kept my staff over there. That Carrefour lost customer because of the bad service they provided.
In order to solve all of these problems, Carrefour’s customer service should focus in building a very clear process. The customer service at Carrefour actually don’t have processes for dealing with or handling certain issues with customers. If there is no process for solving the issues, then the problems will in no way gets solved. Poor or no processes direct to misunderstanding and lack of problem solving. There is no system that take consumer complains, and customer service’s reps use a manual way to serve it’s consumers. Lack of employees and lack of technology are the main issues to be resolved in order to provide consumers with the best service, and retain them to the market.
Figure 1. Work flow of customer service department when receiving a request
Customers go to the customer service reps for a help such as returning an item, keeping their stuff. Once the customer submit the request, customer service reps contact the billing department to get more information about the customer quire. Customer may wait for hours or days to solve the problem. As you see from Figure 1, there is no system or process that the request take in order to solve in a quick and professional way. When customers contact reps at the customer service desk, they don’t know which department will resolve their service problems, the employee of that department also may perhaps not particularly know who to refer them. The service reps may not guarantee that the client is correctly referred and may set the customer floating to drift from employee to employee in search of answer on their own.
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Customer service prospects are growing. Customers are always looking for quick, appropriate, and constant answers when they have queries, whether they speak to a call center, or visit the customer service itself. Customers are also looking for different alternatives when it comes to contact with the business, by phone, visiting the web, or at the counter. Unfortunately, customer service at Carrefour is undergoing several inefficient and unreliable services that are provided by the customer service’s reps. It also lacks of a clear and an inefficient processes when handling certain issues with customers. Carrefour should put more efforts in enhancing and engaging technologies in its process in order to handle customers more quickly and provide best services which will guarantee the retention of customers. CRM is one of the most successful solution that integrates IT with business in order to solve customers’ problems in a professional way.
Offering a high quality, efficient and effective service is a central goal of the customer service department. Making sure that customers’ needs are put first, and providing innovative ways for serving them. Several customers nowadays are focused on increasing their retail market existence and growing their client acquisition channels as well lowering the operating cost per customer. The solution to productively implementing this strategy is by enlarging operating capacity as well planning to decrease costs. Businesses that can effectively use their technical capacities and incessantly develop operating processes can launch themselves as the market leaders in the growing retail site. These serious areas of focus are separated crossways the business process competencies, technology, and operations.
In order to enhance the operation of Carrefour’s Customer Service, Carrefour should state the principals that show the efficiency and reliability of its service. These principals should assure the importance of consumers:
Quality Service Values
Create a statement that summarize the nature and quality of service that they are providing, which customers expect and wait for.
Equality or Diversity
Guarantee equal treatment and accommodate diversity under the grounds of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, etc. Classify and work to remove barriers.
Offer clean, available offices that ensure confidentiality, fulfill with professional and security values. Help people with disabilities and others with specific needs.
Apply a proactive approach in order to provide information that is understandable, appropriate and precise, and available at all points of contact, which actually convenes the needs of customers. Make sure the prospective presented by Information Technology is completely valid and available on service websites with the guidelines, rules, regulations, forms, information leaflets and procedures.
Timeliness and Courtesy
Transport quality services with good manners, understanding and the minimum delay. Provide contact names in all communications to make sure reliable of ongoing transactions.
Keep a well published, reachable, clear and simple system of handling complaints of customers.
Maintain a formal, well published, reachable, clear and simple system of appeal and review for customers who are dissatisfied with the services that are provided.
Offer a planned approach to important discussion with the customer in relative to the improvement, delivery and appraisal of services. Guarantee consequential evaluation of service delivery.
Offer choice where possible in service delivery plus payment methods, location, opening hours and delivery times. Utilize accessible and emerging technologies to guarantee highest admission, choice, and excellence of delivery.
Billing System: in order to have a good billing systems, the requirements of the customers and the firm must be taken into account. The software and the way it processes information and executes procedures, should be a good fit to the firm’s method of processing information. It should perfectly handle the requests of customers weather using telephony services or queries at the desk.
Carrefour should use CRM (customer service management) that offer a cloud computing solution which will integrate all the functions together. CRM will help Carrefour in improving customer satisfaction, and attract new customers by lowering service costs. CRM will offer everyone ( all functions) that interfaces with the customers access to complete important customer data in real time. Customer service is about being responsive of customer needs and responding to them effectively and successfully. CRM will help Carrefour to recognize, predict and react to customers’ needs in a reliable way. It will present a sight of the customers which will gives service and support reps with better visibility into customer issues and complaints plus It will allow them to drive more selling. In addition, CRM’s call center capabilities will help reps allocate, track and escalate cases to handle customers’ requests more fast and professionally. CRM will deliver by using the cloud computing technology to any Web browser, and guarantees wherever and whenever admission to customer service information, making it perfect for virtual call centers and staff. There are also many other benefits that CRM will bring to the Carrefour which are:
Build Customer Relationships
Gather essential data, like information of customers and order records
Enhanced customer service with better receptiveness that facilitate customer loyalty
More achievement in appealing new customers with ultimate deals, through faster and more proficient answers to customer
Oversimplification of marketing and sales procedures by understanding customer needs
Facilitate Marketing department to recognize, group and target more customers
Create quality guides for the sales group
Sales and Account Management
Develop telesales, sales management and account management
Minimum operating costs, it will cost very little fees when handling a customer via a website comparing to the call center
Discover new selling opportunities
Provide sales team with better tools
Generate comprehensive profiles such as customer preferences
Deliver immediate access to customer histories for all functions
Assist employees and reps to understand customer needs
Construct relationships between employees and customers
Expand more communication channels
Give partners with the resources to share information
Incorporate Partners into one system to know more about the process of the business.
The Architecture Of CRM
There are three categories under the architecture of CRM. Each one of them plays a vital role understanding customer needs, and in order to success in building excellent CRM, Carrefour must realize the significance of adopting these three attributes effectively:
The operational of CRM facilitate the mechanization of business processes (such as marketing and sales). Information related consumers will be automatically stored into the database once the connection is made, and the employee can get detailed information about customer when it is required. There are three components of Operational CRM which are Sale force automation, Customer service automation, and Enterprise marketing automation. The Enterprise marketing automation provides the business with information about the climate of the business, and it offer critical information about competitors and other imperative variables. It also create strategies that the business can use to strengthen its marketing plans. Customer service will provide exact processes that are associated to service such as item returns or customer complaints. Sales force automation is responsible for dealing with a number of the company’s sales everyday jobs.
It’s in charge of automating the company’s sales everyday jobs. It automate information such as demographics, and customer needs. Once the customer contact the customer service representative, relevant information will be automatically provided. The collaborative components allow customers to gain access to their accounts. Collaborative CRM is vital since it places the connections that the company will build with its customers. These connections possibly will be private, or they might come through the telephone or the Internet. It’s an influential structure of communication that make use of many technologies.
It’s imperative especially when it comes to the product enlargement and risk management. Carrefour may possibly require to change its current strategies or techniques through the information that the CRM use based in this process. Analytical CRM can be used to supply significant information to customers within a little period of time. It construct a powerful relationships with customers. Analytical CRM can be a vital tool for quick detection by exploring the patterns of sales, inventory, and profits.
Customer relationship management is straightly associated to customer service department. Carrefour can employ a CRM system to computerize some of its processes, and this can be linked to customer complaint or respects. Many call centers are consisted of computerized CRM systems. The purpose of using CRM systems is to make the
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